It's been a wild 2014 for the New York Rangers. They started the year playing two away games in the Bronx then went on to roll through the Eastern Conference securing the 2nd playoff spot in the Metropolitan division. It was during the playoffs, however, that the Rangers turned up the crazy dial and went on a run that will last a lifetime...if I could borrow a phrase.
I'm gonna do this in the traditional 10-1 format because that will make things easy and please note that these rankings are official and can not be disputed.
#10: Rangers crush the Maple Leafs 7-1 (January 4th, 2014)
The Rangers were coming out of a slow start through the end of 2013 and got 2014 off on the right foot by blowing through the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were fresh off of a win against the Detroit Red Wings in the Winter Classic. This was the start of a month where the Rangers really began to get a foothold for who they were as a team.
#9: Rangers Honor Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh wins it in overtime (March 24, 2014)
On the night the Rangers honored Henrik Lundqvist for his 302nd (at the time) career wins and his 50 (at the time) career shut outs, both franchise records, it was Ryan McDonagh who put a nice bow on the night by putting the Coyotes away in overtime. The win pushed the Rangers into sole possession of 2nd place in the Metropolitan, a spot that they would not relinquish for the rest of the season.
#8: Anthony Duclair highlights a Wild comeback (October 27th, 2014)
The Rangers were in the throes of an early season struggle rife with injuries to Derek Stepan (broken leg) and Dan Boyle (broken hand) and through forty minutes of this game against the Minnesota Wild it looked like the Rangers were headed for yet another loss, down 3-0 through two and without Chris Kreider who was ejected from the game earlier. Then the Rangers scored one, then two, and then a third goal and all of a sudden this stupid game became something more when Anthony Duclair caught a pass from Matt Hunwick and scored his first NHL goal. It was awesome.
#7: The Hockey Hug of 2014 (April 27th, 2014)
Dominic Moore returned to hockey in the 2013-2014 season after taking a year off after the death of his wife due to cancer. It was already easy to cheer for Dom Moore, but it was his solidification of the 4th line with the big teddy bear Brian Boyle that really made Rangers fans fall hard for the Harvard grad. So it was so gratifying watching Dominic Moore score against the Flyers in the playoffs and watch him and Boyle celebrate with a giant bear hug.
#6: Henrik Lundqvist becomes the winningest goalie in New York Rangers history (March 18th, 2014)
Over his illustrious ten year career, Henrik Lundqvist had established himself as, arguably, the best goaltender in the history of the New York Rangers it was after this game in Ottawa that Henrik grabbed his 302nd career win which vaulted him over Mike Richter for 1st all time in franchise history. While I don't make much of goalie wins and losses, this was still a great moment in Hank's great career.
#5: Rangers embarrass Martin Brodeur, Devils in Yankee Stadium (January 26th, 2014)
For two games in the end of January the Rangers were slated to play the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders outside in Yankee Stadium as part of the NHL's new Stadium Series set of outdoor games. Because of wonky, and flat out greedy, MSG policy, the Rangers could not play a home game at any venue that wasn't MSG (Thanks, Jimmy!). Which meant that you had the weird spot of the Devils being the home team in a game played in The Bronx. Anyway, after a bit of a delayed and sleepy start because of sun glare, the Rangers went on to embarrass future St. Louis Blues great Martin Brodeur on route to a dominating 7-3 win in what was a really cool atmosphere.
#4: Rick Nash gets angry in return to Columbus (March 21st, 2014)
Because of a concussion that cost him seventeen games last season, Rick Nash missed his first return to Columbus since being traded and had to wait until the two teams' last meeting of the season to make his return. The Columbus crowd gave Nash a rather feisty welcome back and Rick responded in kind with a rather feisty and angry performance. Getting into altercations with almost everyone wearing a Blue Jackets jersey, include goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
#3: Martin St. Louis and his roller coaster playoffs (May-June 2014)
We all know the story of Martin St. Louis' playoff. His mother dying of a heart attack between games 4 and 5 of the Penguins series, Marty playing hours after his mother died, the Rangers storm back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Eastern Conference semi-final to get to the Eastern Conference Final. The pinnacle of this run was his OT goal against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Final. In what was an incredible run, St. Louis had run to remember all of his own.
#2: The King reigns supreme (May 29th, 2014)
The Rangers are one win away from going to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years and are facing a potential Game Seven at the Bell Centre in Montreal if they lost this one. This was the time Henrik Lundqvist decided to break physics and absolutely demoralize the Montreal Canadiens. After this save, the outcome was almost inevitable.
#1: Dominic Moore scores the biggest Rangers goal in 20 years (May 29th, 2014)
The list of 2013-14 Rangers that deserved to score that goal is very small and at top of it is Dominic Moore. This goal was, needless to say, huge for the Rangers but because it was Dominic Moore, who had been through so much and worked himself back after losing so much just a year earlier, to become one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, this goal has so much more of an impact to me.
2014 was a hell of a year to be a Rangers fan, probably one of the best years out of the last 20 and these are just some of the moments that really stood out to me as being some of the best in the calendar year.